OER and Low-Cost Designations

OER and Low-Cost Designations at 
Lane Community College

On May 22, 2017, the Lane Community College OER Steering Committee voted to revise the definition of low-cost textbooks/course material from $30. to $40. maximum per course CRN. This change is the result of multiple factors and aligns Lane’s definition with many other community colleges in Oregon. As a result of the new definition, the OER Steering Committee also established the following criteria for designating the status of OER and low-cost designation in the course schedule:

  • Low-cost textbooks/OER course material cannot exceed $40. per course CRN regardless of the number of credits. Course CRN with credits from 1-5 will have a maximum new textbook cost of $40.
  • When two classes are taught in coordination (such as many ASL classes), each CRN will not exceed $40. for new textbook/course material cost.
  • The designation “low-cost” will refer to any textbook/course material under $40. when purchased new, and includes copyrighted material, materials used under Fair Use, and materials accessed on the open web.
  • The designation “OER” refers only to materials that are licensed under a Creative Commons and can be accessed for zero cost (not including access to technology). The cost of a physical copy may not exceed $40.
  • Other fees—such as materials fees, tech fees—are not included in the $40. limit for low-cost or OER designation.

The OER and low-cost designations are based on two different (but related) pieces of information: cost and open copyright license. The OER designation is the more restrictive of the two groups; for a class to be designated as OER, it must use materials that are free to access and have an open license. Classes using materials that total $40 or less may be designated as low-cost, regardless of the materials’ license.

Example designations:

  • Traditional materials with a price under $40 (new) - Low-cost.
  • Library materials (ebooks, articles) - Low-cost.
  • No cost materials that are not openly licensed (found on the web, instructor's own notes, fair use) - Low-cost.
  • OER (digital) - OER.
  • OER (digital w/ print copy optional) - OER.
  • OER (print copy required) - Low-cost if under $40.
  • OER-based paid subscription service (Candela, Waymaker, etc.) - Low-cost if under $40.